Prisoner of Conscience Said To Be Alive, Though No One Has Seen Him In Prison
“Through the follow-ups I have made, I am sure that he is alive and the rumors circulating about him are not true,” Mahmoud Alizadeh Tababaee, the political prisoner’s former lawyer, told the Campaign. Regarding questions of beatings by prison officials, the reasons why Sadeghi has not been transferred to the general ward, and whether his family has been able to visit with him, Tababaee said, “I cannot answer these questions. We were very concerned about whether Arash is alive or not, and I have been assured over the past days that he is alive.”
This week, 200 political activists published a letter addressed to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, protesting Arash Sadeghi’s conditions and the absolute lack of news about him. The letter states that Arash Sadeghi has been on a hunger strike inside Ward 209 of Evin in protest of being beaten by forces, and that his psychological and physical health are unknown. Following this letter, rumors have been circulating about whether or not Sadeghi is alive.
Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee, Arash Sadeghi’s former lawyer who has reassumed his case by request of Sadeghi’s father, refused to respond to questions about the reasons he may have been beaten and about his psychological and physical state, or whether he had been able to visit with him. He only said about Sadeghi’s case, “With the follow-ups I have had over the past days, I believe that there will be a indictment issued and sent to court for his new case.”
Arash Sadeghi was a sixth-term graduate student of philosophy at Allameh Tabatabaee University, a member of the Islamic Association of the university, and a member of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s election campaign in the 2009 presidential election when he was arrested on July 9, 2009, following street protests. He was released in late August 2009 without being informed of his charges. Sadeghi resumed his education at Allameh Tabatabaee University that September but was arrested again in December 2009 and released again in March 2010, again without being informed of his charges. He was arrested a third time in June 2010, and released in August 2010. After this third release, his lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee informed him that Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Pirabassi had sentenced him to six years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “assembly and collusion with intent to act against national security.”
Intelligence forces raided Arash Sadeghi’s home at 4 a.m. on October 30, 2010, in order to arrest him. Sadeghi’s mother suffered a heart attack with the shock of the raid and passed away. Arash Sadeghi, who was not home that day, turned himself in at Evin Prison on December 21, 2010. He was immediately transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison and subjected to torture by Intelligence forces coercing him to sign a letter denying any relation between his mother’s death and the raid by security forces.
Peyman Aref, a former prisoner of conscience who was Arash Sadeghi’s cellmate for some time, told the Campaign, “Arash was so harshly tortured inside Ward 209 of Evin Prison for signing that letter of denial that his right shoulder broke. When he was transferred to the General Ward, the ward physician ordered 10 physical therapy sessions for him. I was a witness to all of this. Arash was so severely tortured that he was no longer able to lift his right arm. A year after his arrest and almost a month before his release, he was informed of his case process, learning that the appeals court had reduced his sentence from six years to five years, only one year of which was to be served in prison. Therefore he was released on December 15, 2011.”
But Arash Sadeghi was arrested again on January 15, 2012, and has been inside Ward 209 of Evin Prison ever since without having been informed of his new charges.
Asked whether Arash Sadeghi had any political activities during the short time he was released, Peyman Aref said, “I saw Arash twice during that time. He was so depressed and sad, he was unable to do anything. Think about it, he had gone to prison with his mother’s death, and when he came back his family held him responsible for his mother’s death. He was severely depressed. I know that during that time he once went to Allameh University to follow up with his educational affairs, but he was told that he was no longer able to continue his education. So far as I know, his interrogator had called him once and, swearing at him, had accused him of planning to disrupt Allameh University ahead of the Council of Experts elections, and of planning to boycott the elections. He was arrested two days later on the street corner near his grandfather’s home.”
“Since then, nobody has seen him inside the General Ward nor in any of the public rooms of Ward 209. This means that he has been kept inside a solitary cell since his arrest and nobody knows about his health or whether he is alive. In all the past 1.5 years, he has only had two visits with his grandfather. Nobody has any information about him,” Aref added.